Vicenza stays perfect on volleyball court
Stars and Stripes September 18, 2021
VICENZA, Italy – There was certainly no shortage of energy at the Vicenza High School gym Saturday when the host girls’ volleyball team took on the Sigonella Jaguars.
Both spectators and players were excited to be back in the gym playing volleyball, and according to coaches, that’s the way it was as well Friday night, when the teams faced each other for the first time in almost two years thanks to coronavirus protocols.
The teams were evenly matched Friday, going the full five games to determine a winner.
Saturday, the Cougars began the match strongly, just like they did Friday. However, this time, they kept the pressure and never let the Jaguars get into any rhythm, which proved to be a winning formula.
Behind strong serves from Fiona Hein, Julia Ridgely and Giana Barea, the Cougars won 25-12, 25-12, 25-10.
“Today, it was very different than how we played yesterday,” Vicenza coach John Kohut said. “We knew we could play better than yesterday so, our plan was to go out there today, be assertive and put the serves in the corners, where we knew we needed to place them. It worked out well for us.”
The Jaguars remained motivated throughout the match and never gave up, despite whatever the scoreboard said.
Sigonella’s Angela Mykayla Abad, Fabiola Mercado-Rodriguez and Madison Wood played well and each had key plays that helped the Jaguars stay in the match.
“After not being able to play or even practice for the last year and a half, and basically having a complete turnover with the team, we’re learning as we play, and unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we do have to learn while playing a varsity match,” Sigonella coach Shawn McCarthy said.
Friday night, the Cougars started strong by decisively taking the first two games 25-16 and 25-10. The Jaguars fought back and after 25-16 and 25-20 set victories, the contest was tied.
The Cougars then pulled out the match 15-11.
“Friday night, we didn’t serve as well as we should have,” Kohut said. “We let our guard down and they took advantage of it.”
McCarthy believes his team will get better as the season progresses.
“Every touch of the ball, every play, is a chance for us to learn,” McCarthy said. “The challenge for a coach is to remain patient and wait for the results from coaching, the kids will do well in the end.”